Protect Other People’s Backs

[May 6, 2022]  Be loyal.  Never betray.   The idea of loyalty is as ancient as human association with others, although often revealed in its opposite (disloyalty, betrayal, ingratitude).  The world’s greatest thinkers have studied the notion of human commitments, whether to God or each other and regard loyalty, as a remarkable virtue worthy of true wonder.

This concept is strong with emotion and cannot be discounted.  Loyalty’s practical value is without argument.  Loyalty to others means to protect them from harm; the opposite is to destroy.

“You stand up for your teammates.  Your loyalty is to them.  You protect them through good and bad because they’d do the same for you.” – Yogi Berra

In the underworld of Dante’s Inferno (Italian language for “Hell”), when he outlined the levels of Hell, he was trying to get to the bottom of what constituted evil.  There are various ways to behave wickedly, but there is a pecking order of evil behavior.  There is something that is the absolute worse at the bottom.  Moreover, Dante believed it was a betrayal.

Betrayal is devastating.  It is worse than crime.  It is worse than thievery, bribery, slavery, and even worse than murder.  Betrayal destroys not just a person but the belief in the intrinsic good nature of all humans.  It undermines everything we know and all we have come to hold dear to ourselves.

One human act that enables long-term peaceful cooperation between people is trust.  Loyalty is the outgrowth of trust.  Trust is an unbelievably powerful force in human activity; it is the basis of everything we do.  Without trust, we cannot act cooperatively with others, we cannot exist peacefully, and we cannot live alongside others.  Trust allows us to predict the acceptable and beneficial behavior of others.  And trust is always a two-way street.  Only by giving it can you gain it.  If trust is to exist, trust must be given and taken.  To protect others and to have their back is a necessary form of trust.  When someone trusts us, they know that any threat against them will be met by others to protect and defend.

And, of course, “Check your Six.”  Also phrased as “watch your back,” means be careful of what’s behind you.  It’s a military phrase adopted in civilian phraseology, where “six” refers to numbers on an imaginary clock, 12 is directly in front of you, and six is behind.  Loyalty is an essential element in this idea because no one can be on guard against every possibility.  Good friends, family, and co-workers can help you check your six.  Be situationally aware, be open to the input of others, be transparent in your dealing with others, and remember that there are folks out there who will attempt to destroy you just because they can.

So, being a good person means to check your Six and protect the back of others.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

28 thoughts on “Protect Other People’s Backs

  1. Cow Blue

    LOYALTY, means a lot. Oh, today is Mother’s Day, so don’t forget to see your mother.

    Reply
  2. DocJeff

    Correct. You have to be loyal to get loyalty. If you help others, they will help you. Trust is the basis of humanness. Yet, I find that some of our modern ideologies, like communism, socialism, progressivism, and liberalism all have the same flaw, trust is not required for them to work. Therefore, using the logic of Gen. Satterfield, these ideologies are failures.

    Reply
    1. American Girl

      DocJeff. Excellent observation. I do think you are right. On the other hand, Americanism is based heavily upon trust.

      Reply
      1. Billy Kenningston

        Right, humans don’t handle deceit and betrayal very well.

        Reply
  3. Edward G.

    If you get the chance, read this article and pay close attention. This is what being a real leader and a real person is all about. It’s about being with and protecting others. Loyalty. Truth. Honesty. Be human, protect other people’s backs.

    Reply
  4. Watson Bell

    Again, Gen. Satterfield takes us on a journey on what it means to be a strong man (or woman) and into the basics of human relationships and what we all MUST HAVE to survive the trials and tough reality we all live in. These days, having someone’s 6 is more important than ever. Evil is always lurking just beneath the surface. Sometimes, like today, it shows its head.

    Reply
  5. Frontier Man

    Betrayal is devastating. It is worse than crime. It is worse than thievery, bribery, slavery, and even worse than murder. Betrayal destroys not just a person but the belief in the intrinsic good nature of all humans. It undermines everything we know and all we have come to hold dear to ourselves.” – Brig. Gen. Satterfield
    — the best quote of all —

    Reply
  6. Alberto Alvarez

    Good job, Gen. Satterfield, keep these well-written articles coming our way. I’m enjoying them as well as my wife and kids.

    Reply
    1. Willie Strumburger

      Yes, same here. I’m one of the longest readers of Gen. Satterfield and have witnessed his blog progress since it originally came into being. For those with the time, if you want, go back to some of his original articles (they are often very short, sometimes just a paragraph) when he was still a General Officer in the US Army and read about his thinking then and now. His development has changed a bit but always patriotic and always on target with his blog. 😊

      Reply
      1. Ronny Fisher

        Willie, you and I and a few others here are original members. Thanks for being such a fan like me and others. We too have grown intellectually.

        Reply
  7. Eye Cat

    Another great blog post from Gen. Satterfield. Thank you!

    Reply
  8. New Girl #1

    Love the Yogi quote. Don’t forget there is a whole line of Yogisms.
    “You stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad because they’d do the same for you.” – Yogi Berra

    Reply
    1. ZB22

      An epic and searing poem, that takes the reader on an intense journey through the darkest pits of hell. As important and classic as the day it was written over 600 years ago. Dante’s Inferno is one of the best and enduring works of Western Civilization.

      Reply
      1. Unwoke Dude

        The immortal drama of a journey through Hell. You been in combat, you been there.

        Reply
  9. Jonny McB.

    In a time of turmoil, the good people come together to protect the weak and innocent. Not go with the mob to burn and destroy. That is why I’m no longer a Democrat; they only want to burn down what is good. We always can make improvements in our institutions, and are doing so, but to overthrow everything is not the answer. The Democrats in Congress are nuts. They will go down in history as evil people trying to destroy the beacon of freedom in the world.

    Reply
    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Excellent point, Jonny. I would never vote for or be around anyone who supports evil and Democrats have shown us they support evil. For example they support abortion up to the time of birth and also after birth up to 28 days. And they call it compassion. yeah right.

      Reply
  10. Bryan Z. Lee

    Got your six is a common phrase in police or military jargon, used to tell someone that one is looking out for their backs. The phrase comes from the fact that airplane pilots used to refer to various directions around themselves as if they stood in the center of a clock; “in-front-of” became 12’o clock, while “behind” was turned into 6’o clock. When one is covering someone else’s backs, they tell them “got your six”.
    From SlangLang

    Reply
  11. Mikka Solarno

    Spot on article, this morning, Gen. Satterfield, and, so far some great comments from Army Captain and others. We’ve certainly hit a nerve with these great articles and I find this website truly a great place to go to throw ideas around. I hope that Gen. S continues to do what he does and keeps up the great works.

    Reply
    1. Adolf Menschner

      Yes, indeed, great website. I enjoy reading it daily.

      Reply
  12. Army Captain

    “Got your 6,” we used to say and, okay, we still do. It means we got your back, don’t worry, we back you up. Common comment among military and law enforcement.

    Reply
    1. Army Vet

      Yes, loyalty, the highest form of trust and confidence. Most civilians are only children when it comes to understanding this idea.

      Reply
      1. Winston

        Army Capt and Army Vet, well said. This is all about close teamwork, that makes you part of a ‘family’ of comrades or brothers in arms. We support each other. All the highest form of humanness you can find. Even more than a marriage (well, most of the time anyway).

        Reply
    2. Ernest

      Got your six. Haven’t hear that saying in a long time. As we become less and less interested in others and become more self-centered in our country, protecting others is now so passe.

      Reply

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